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Anti-Vaxxers More Likely To Vent On Twitter

Posted 9 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 9, 2017 – American parents who oppose childhood vaccines often take to Twitter to vent, share and seek reinforcement for the widely disproven notion that these shots can trigger autism, new research shows. But the phenomenon is unevenly spread, the researchers noted, with states such as California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania leading the pack when it comes to the highest prevalence of Twitter-based vaccine-bashing. The findings stem from the sifting of roughly 550,000 tweets posted between 2009 and 2015. All of the tweets contained at least one reference to both autism and vaccines, and about half were found to express anti-vaccine sentiments. "Unfortunately, these results were not terribly unexpected," said study author Theodore Tomeny. Why? Tomeny suggested "that sites primarily based on user-generated information, like Twitter, may be popular ... Read more

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Vaccination 101: Make Sure Kids Are Up to Date

Posted 28 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Aug. 28, 2017 – As the new school year begins, make sure your child is up to date on all vaccinations. "Schools are a great environment for spreading bacteria and viruses because students are in crowded classrooms, sharing things and in close proximity to one another," said Zachary Klase. He's an assistant professor of biological sciences at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. "A major factor contributing to many viral outbreaks is being in an environment where you are close to others such as attending the same class, playing on the same sports team or living in a residence hall," he added in a university news release. Vaccinations protect against diseases like meningitis, tetanus, measles diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, mumps, rubella and hepatitis B. All 50 states require public school children to be vaccinated unless they have a waiver, and colleges ... Read more

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Anti-Vaccine Family Members, Friends Spur Many Moms to Delay Baby's Shots

Posted 18 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 18, 2017 – If a pregnant woman hears anti-vaccine messages from family or friends about childhood immunizations, she's much more likely to delay her baby's shots, new research shows. And that's true even if she hears positive messages after the discouraging ones, the New Zealand investigators found. "Pregnancy is an important time for educating about infant immunization," said study co-author Dr. Cameron Grant, head of the department of pediatrics, child and youth health at the University of Auckland. "This very important aspect of medical education should not be left until after the child is born. Health professionals caring for pregnant women have a very important role to play in determining the immunization intentions of these future parents, and in promoting infant immunization," he said. The study included information from more than 6,000 pregnant women in New ... Read more

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Time to Catch Up on Reading, Writing and Routine Shots

Posted 26 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, July 26, 2017 – Of all the items on your child's back-to-school checklist, getting vaccinated is probably your kid's least favorite. But those shots are essential for keeping children healthy, pediatricians say. Vaccination requirements may vary somewhat from state to state. But all 50 states and Washington, D.C., require children to be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis), polio, measles and rubella. If your child hasn't already been vaccinated according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended schedule, it's not too late, said Dr. David Kimberlin. He is vice chair of pediatrics and co-director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham's division of pediatric infectious diseases. "The best way to treat diseases is to prevent them in the first place, and the diseases on the vaccine schedule are all preventable for ... Read more

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Immunizations for High Flyin' Travelers

Posted 26 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 26, 2017 – Nothing spoils a trip faster than getting sick. And a good way to protect yourself is by getting certain vaccinations before you leave home. Regardless of your destination, make sure you're up to date on routine immunizations like MMR (measles-mumps-rubella), DPT (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis), varicella (chicken pox), polio and the flu shot. You may also need other vaccinations (as well as medications), depending on where you're going, how long you'll be there, what you'll be doing, and whether you'll be traveling to a country outside the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends scheduling a visit with your doctor four to six weeks before your trip to go over your needs – some shots must be given weeks in advance. The CDC has a travel health website (see below) that lets you look up recommended as ... Read more

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Congressional Group Gives Bipartisan Support to Vaccine Safety

Posted 21 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 21, 2017 – A group of six high-ranking U.S. Senators and House members from both sides of the aisle issued a statement Tuesday supporting the safety and effectiveness of FDA-approved vaccines. The statement comes after reports that President Donald Trump has shown some support for the widely discredited "anti-vaxxer" movement. In early January, Robert Kennedy Jr., a vocal opponent of routine childhood vaccinations, said that Trump had asked him to head a new commission on vaccine safety. Various medical organizations expressed alarm at the time. However, the six Congressional leaders who penned the statement Tuesday said the debate over the safety of vaccines has long been over. They include Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Ranking ... Read more

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Don't Skip Veggies in Winter

Posted 21 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 20, 2017 – Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you can't eat fresh, healthy foods. There are five types of foods you should try to consume during the winter months, according to health experts at the Cleveland Clinic who offer these suggestions: While it can be hard to find local produce during the winter, root vegetables such as beets, carrots and turnips can withstand the cold and are available. Roast carrots to get a dose of beta-carotene, or boil turnips for vitamins A and C. Oatmeal provides nutrients that are essential during winter. It's high in zinc (important for your immune system) and soluble fiber, which is associated with heart health. Instant oatmeal is more convenient but also more expensive. If you're on a budget, choose old-fashioned oats. Soup is another good food choice in winter, but hold the cream, salt and beef. Try soup recipes that call for ... Read more

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8 Ways to Help Kids Dodge Germs

Posted 9 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 8, 2017 – There are a number of ways parents can help give a boost to their child's immune system, a family doctor suggests. "The immune system helps us fight infections," said Dr. Palak Shroff, a family medicine specialist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. "Immunity develops over time, so the more someone gets exposed, the more the immune system develops," Shroff explained in a center news release. "Kids' whole environment is new, but over time, their immunity will develop and get better," she added. Shroff suggested eight keys to helping children minimize their risk of catching every cold and virus that comes their way: Breast-feeding is the first step. It is an important way to help your child develop a strong immune system. "During breast-feeding, the mother's immunity transfers to the child," Shroff said. Vaccination is another crucial factor. ... Read more

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Genital Herpes Vaccine Shows Promise in Animal Trials

Posted 20 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 19, 2017 – A new vaccine for genital herpes could be nearing human clinical trials, researchers say. The vaccine has proven effective in animals against herpes simplex virus 2, the sexually transmitted virus that causes genital herpes, according to a new report. The new "trivalent" vaccine targets three different parts of the virus, shutting down its ability to enter cells and to evade detection by the immune system, said senior researcher Dr. Harvey Friedman. He's a professor with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine's Institute for Immunology. In lab studies, the vaccine proved 98 percent effective in protecting guinea pigs against genital herpes infection, Friedman and his colleagues reported. The vaccine also promoted an immune response in monkeys, increasing the levels of antibodies targeting the virus, the study authors said. The vaccine's developers ... Read more

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Medical Experts Alarmed at Trump's Reported Support of Vaccine Skeptic

Posted 11 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11, 2017 – The U.S. medical community is responding with reactions ranging from apprehension to dismay at reports that President-elect Donald Trump reportedly asked a renowned vaccine skeptic to head a new commission on vaccine safety. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has written articles and books claiming a link between childhood vaccines and autism, said Tuesday that Trump had offered him the post during a meeting earlier that day. A Trump spokeswoman threw some doubt on Kennedy's assertion, however, stating hours later that while the president-elect is interested in a commission on autism, no final decision has been made. Nonetheless, a host of medical societies, autism advocacy groups and individual physicians immediately denounced the potential development, which they said would shake the public's faith in a practice that regularly protects millions of people from ... Read more

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Common Virus May Have Ties to Type 1 Diabetes

Posted 10 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 10, 2017 – From Finland comes more evidence that a common group of viral infections may play a role in the development of at least some cases of type 1 diabetes. The viruses are known as enteroviruses. These viruses cause a number of infections – from the common cold to conditions as serious as polio, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study found that children who had signs indicating they might be developing type 1 diabetes had significantly more enterovirus infections occurring at least a year earlier. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. That means the body's immune system mistakenly destroys healthy insulin-producing cells called islet cells. The cells that attack the body's healthy cells are called autoantibodies, and there are specific autoantibodies for type 1 diabetes, called islet autoantibodies. These autoantibodies ... Read more

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Health Tip: Getting Your Child Vaccinated

Posted 22 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

-- Vaccinations are a necessary part of keeping your child healthy, but the pain and fear may be difficult to endure. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests: Talk to the pediatrician about ways to manage your child's pain. Distract a young child during the shot by singing a song, blowing bubbles or playing a game. Act the doctor about using a numbing spray or cream. Breast-feed or offer a pacifier to babies during vaccination. Stay calm and reassure your child that everything is OK. Read more

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Polio Nearly Vanquished: CDC

Posted 24 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 24, 2016 – Polio is almost a thing of the past, but it still exists in small pockets on the planet, U.S. health officials reported Monday. In 1988, a global effort to eradicate polio, a disease that has crippled millions of children worldwide, began. Since then, the number of cases dropped from 350,000 to just 27 this year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We are on the brink of the eradication of polio – we are closer than ever," CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said during a media briefing. "In this period [1988-2016], 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated against polio," he said. "If it were not for this effort, an estimated 15 million more children would be disabled. Every year polio eradication is delayed, the incremental cost is about $800 million." The battle to eradicate the disease, however, continues in areas where it is still ... Read more

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Drones Could Deliver Vaccines in Developing Countries

Posted 25 Jun 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, June 24, 2016 – Right now, people often associate the use of drones with warfare. But in the future they could serve humanitarian purposes, such as delivering aid to people in developing countries. For example, the pilotless flying machines might offer a cheaper and better way to deliver vaccines. And that could potentially boost vaccination rates in areas that can be difficult to reach now, a new study suggests. Using a computer model, researchers concluded that sending drones to deliver vaccines in low- and middle-income countries would be cheaper and quicker than by land-based vehicles. Cars and trucks are limited by road conditions and have high fuel and maintenance costs, the researchers said. "Many low- and middle-income countries are struggling to get lifesaving vaccines to people to keep them from getting sick or dying from preventable diseases," said senior study ... Read more

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Childhood Vaccinations Rarely Spur Seizures, Study Finds

Posted 6 Jun 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 6, 2016 – Certain vaccines can trigger fever-related seizures in young children, but the risk is so low that pediatricians might see one case every five to 10 years, a new study estimates. It has long been known that some vaccines carry a small seizure risk. But the researchers said the new report offers some hard numbers. And it suggests that even when babies and toddlers get three vaccines at once, they only develop fever-related seizures at a rate of 30 per 100,000 – at most. The findings should be "reassuring" to parents, said lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Duffy, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Looking at the big picture, the benefits of vaccination are much greater than the risk of febrile [fever-related] seizures," Duffy said. Up to 5 percent of young children will have a fever-related seizure at some point, according to the CDC. It usually ... Read more

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